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Princeton University student kidnapped by Iran-backed militia group in Iraq — in March

A Princeton University doctoral student was abducted by a radical Iran-backed militia group while doing work for the school in Iraq — and has been missing for months.

Elizabeth Tsurkov, 36 — an Israeli-Russian citizen studying political science at the New Jersey-based Ivy League institution — was seized in March by members of the Shiite group Kataeb Hezbollah in Baghdad, officials said Wednesday.

“[Elizabeth Tsurkov] is an Israeli-Russian dual citizen who has been missing for several months in Iraq, where she is being held by the Shi’ite militia Kata’ib Hezbollah,” the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

The Israeli government “views Iraq as responsible for her fate and safety,” it said.

The student researcher had used her Russian passport to visit the country in January “in pursuit of a doctoral thesis from Princeton University,” according to Netanyahu’s office.

Tsurkov had just left a cafe in a middle-class Baghdad neighborhood in March when she was kidnapped by members of the paramilitary group, her family and others with knowledge of the case told the New York Times.

Elizabeth Tsurkov
Elizabeth Tsurkov
Ahmad Mohamad/Facebook

She is also a fellow at the American think tank the Foreign Policy Research Institute, which notes that  “her research is based primarily on a large network of contacts she has cultivated across the Middle East and particularly in Syria.”

Tsurkov is also a well-regarded analyst on Syria, with a background studying jihadist groups in the Middle East and degrees in international relations from the Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University, the Times of Israel reported.

Her Twitter page went dark in March.

Elizabeth Tsurkov
Elizabeth Tsurkov
Elizabeth Tsurkov/Facebook

“This incident is being handled by the relevant agencies in Israel out of concern for the security and well-being of Elizabeth Tsurkov,” Netanyahu’s office said.

She is “absolutely not a member of Mossad, period, exclamation point, underline,” a senior Israeli official said at a briefing with Israeli reporters Wednesday — denying rumors in Arab media that she was a spy.

“She is an innocent Israeli citizen doing doctoral work in Princeton,” the official said. “There is no connection between Israeli officials and Elizabeth.”

In December 2019, Kataeb Hezbollah vowed to retaliate for US military strikes in Iraq and Syria that killed 25 of its fighters and wounded dozens.

Princeton University didn’t immediately return The Post’s request for comment Wednesday.